After sharing her ProfNet success story with us on our Facebook page, we caught up with Philippa Gamse, president of Websites That Win International, to get some tips for how to successfully respond to reporters’ queries. Check out what she had to say:
ProfNet Query that led to success:
Link to the story:
Advertisers See Huge Potential in Mobile Marketing by Gail Dutton
How do you choose which ProfNet queries to respond to each day?
I only respond to queries that I know I can speak to, since the goal is to showcase my expertise. I also try to ensure that if I’m going to push back on the writer’s premise (which I think can be valuable sometimes), that my argument is still relevant. I was very lucky once that a prominent journalist took the time to “slap my wrists” about a pitch that he thought was badly off-topic, and he warned me that if I did this again, he’d blacklist me. It was a really good wake-up call.
What do you include in a typical response?
Firstly, my key credentials which establish expertise or positioning for that query. For example, sometimes reporters specifically ask for academics, in which case I’ll introduce myself as a Professor of Digital Marketing, as opposed to mentioning my consulting company. If they ask for an author, I’ll lead with my book ("42 Rules for a Web Presence That Wins"), and a few of its most well-known endorsers, such as Guy Kawasaki.
In the actual content of the pitch, I’ve learned through experience to write exactly as I’d like to be quoted. Sometimes journalists just take my copy and use it, even without letting me know, so it’s important to bear that possibility in mind. I try to use bold text and bullet points so that my key points stand out and can be easily extracted.
Do you have tips for PR people for responding to ProfNet queries?
I’ve actually used ProfNet as a source for leads myself when I’m writing, so I have some experience of this. I really hate when PR people send a pitch saying “You must talk to my expert – he’s awesome and he knows everything about this topic . . .” I have no idea what the “expert” might say, what their angle might be – and I’m being asked to interview them on this basis, and potentially waste my time. This feels very disrespectful. So my tip is that if you’re pitching for someone else, you need to provide a really good level of detail about how they can help.
I’d also like to give a shout-out to Dan Janal, of PR Leads. It was actually one of his tips which motivated me to think of my own individual angle for this story, instead of assuming that other experts had already sent in all the obvious responses. Dan is an amazing resource and font of wisdom for successful PR, and I highly recommend him to your readers.
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